Two NTT IndyCar Series teams and four drivers participated in a Firestone tire test Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist were on track along with team owner/driver Ed Carpenter and teammate Spencer Pigot. Rosenqvist, who finished fourth in his series debut on Sunday St. Petersburg, Florida, began the day undergoing the rookie oval evaluation test.
The test came less than three months before the series returns to the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas, for the DXC Technology 600 in Saturday, June 8.
"It's always a privilege to do a Firestone tire test and help them with the development of the already-great tire that they make,” said Carpenter, who drives the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet in oval events. “But anytime you're on track, you're learning something as a driver and as a team. This is still a relatively new surface since Texas has been redone (in 2017), but things change every offseason. Racetracks age just like I do, so it's nice to have that leg up to see what's different from last year.”
Dixon is the defending race winner. His victory in last year’s race helped push the driver of the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to his fifth NTT IndyCar Series title.
" We had a great car here last year, winning the race, but the track changes, right?” Dixon said. “The surface was fairly new two years ago and it evolves, it gets less grip. We're here, maybe with a different package to try and tighten up the racing. There's always a lot of things that change that you want to at least try to stay on top of, so anytime you can get any laps in one of these Indy cars these days is very critical and very crucial.”
While ovals aren’t completely new to Rosenqvist – he did compete in two Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires oval events in 2016 – the Swede was happy to get the track time Thursday at TMS in an Indy car.
"Every lap on an oval will be a big learning curve because some of these guys have done ovals for 20 years and this is Day 1 for me,” Rosenqvist said. “I'd say getting up to speed is one thing but then all the little details: racing each other, driving on cold tires, pit stops, pit in, pit out. It's like the first day in school, really. This day will be massively important for me to build for the next couple of oval tests and races."
Tickets for the DXC Technology 600 race weekend are available at TexasMotorSpeedway.com. The race airs live at 8 p.m. ET June 8 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Alonso sets lap record at Sebring
Fernando Alonso, who will seek to add the final jewel in motorsports Triple Crown when he competes in the Indianapolis 500 later this year, set the fastest-ever lap of Sebring International Raceway Thursday during the FIA World Endurance Championship qualifying session for the Sebring 1000 mile event.
The Spaniard, driving the No. 8 TS050 HYBRID for Toyota Gazoo Racing, set a blistering 1minute 40.124 seconds to eclipse the 1:43.2 lap set by Sebastien Bourdais during the 2009 Sebring 12 Hours in a Peugeot 908.
Alonso is one of two drivers with ties to NTT IndyCar Series competing in the World Endurance Championship portion of the Sebring doubleheader. DragonSpeed’s rookie Ben Hanley is also competing in the LMP1 class with DragonSpeed.
NTT IndyCar Series drivers are also competing in the 12 Hours of Sebring for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the Acura Team Penske car co-driven by Simon Pagenaud, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron securing the pole on Friday.
Other NTT IndyCar Series drivers in the field are Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi (Acura Team Penske), Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais (Ford Chip Ganassi Racing) and Colton Herta (BMW RLL).
The Sebring 1000 Miles is set for 4 p.m., today. The 12 Hours of Sebring will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Indy 500 Legends Day honoring the thrilling 1960s
The 1960s – a thrilling decade of heroes and some of the most beloved cars in Indianapolis 500 history – will be saluted through a variety of exciting activities for fans during Legends Day presented by Firestone on Saturday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Fan activities included with general admission to Legends Day include an autograph session with the full 2019 Indianapolis 500 field from 9-10 a.m. ET; the public drivers’ meeting starting at 10:25 a.m.; an autograph session with retired Indy 500 drivers, with legends from the 1960s expected to participate, from noon-2:30 p.m.; and more.
“There have been many great eras in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, but few have captivated the fans like the 1960s,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “It was a transformative decade of iconic drivers and machines that helped ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ reach a new level of global popularity. We can’t wait to share in this celebration with our loyal fans on Legends Day presented with Firestone, and we thank Firestone for its continued support of these events that create new magic and memories.”
General admission tickets for Legends Day are available at IMS.com for $10, with kids 15 and under admitted free with an adult. Legends Day general admission tickets do not include admission to the Firestone Legends Day Concert featuring multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. Tickets for that exciting show start at $35 and also are available at IMS.com.
Concert headliners announced for Long Beach, Detroit events
Indie rockers Cold War Kids, who hail from Long Beach, will headline the Saturday night concert presented by Acura and SMG at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13. Free to race ticket holders, the show will begin at 9 p.m. ET after the close of daytime racing activities. Opening for Cold War Kids will be local indie-electronic band Moontower.
The show will take place on the plaza in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center. Space at the plaza is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For ticket information to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, visit gplb.com.
Meanwhile, at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, Stone Temple Pilots, one of the most iconic rock bands of the last 25 years, will perform a concert live on Sunday, June 2. The concert starts at 1 p.m. ET and precedes the second NTT IndyCar Series race of the weekend at Belle Isle.
With new lead singer Jeff Gutt from Marine City, Michigan, Stone Temple Pilots will rock the Entertainment Stage at the track. All fans with Sunday race tickets may attend the concert in the Meijer Fan Zone at no extra charge.
“We’re so excited to welcome Stone Temple Pilots to Belle Isle,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. “STP will rock the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Entertainment Stage and get our fans fired up before we host the final race of an action-packed weekend in the Motor City.”
Tickets for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix start as low as just $45. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DetroitGP.com or call 866-464-7749 (PRIX).